Tag Archives: tooth roots near nerves

Should I Wait to Extract an Impacted Wisdom Tooth If It Isn’t Bothering Me?

I have four wisdom teeth. Two are impacted. The one on the top right is bothering me. The one on the bottom left does not. I’m having the one on the top right extracted. My dentist asked if I wanted to extract the other impacted tooth, but warned me the root went past the nerve. He said we could leave the root and that way there’d be less chance of a problem. I can’t decide what to do. That bottom tooth does not bother me so I wonder if I am borrowing trouble by removing it. Is there a standard for this situation?


Dear Miles,

An illustration with four examples of impacted wisdom teeth.

The most important rule of thumb is to take an impacted wisdom tooth out when you are young. When you are in your late teens to twenties, everything is relatively pliable. The older you get, the greater the risk of complications. By the time you are thirty years old, your risk of complications doubles. Then it doubles again every few years after that.

An impacted tooth almost always becomes a problem at some point. What you don’t want is to wait until there is a dental emergency to have to deal with it. You will have far less control over the circumstances at that point. Leaving the tooth root is not a bad idea. However, I am not in favor of leaving the entire root. I would suggest you just have him leave the root tip that is near the nerve. You’ll reduce the chances of having trouble with it if the root tip is small.

For dental procedures such as yours, where the patient can feel very anxious, I recommend using oral conscious sedation. This will allow you to get the needed work done in an anxiety free/pain free way. In fact, you will be so relaxed that you could sleep through the entire procedure if you wanted to.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.